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Auckland Airport introduces region’s newest open air art gallery

October 1, 2013 Airport No Comments Email Email

Aucklanders and visitors to the city can now enjoy a new outdoor gallery featuring world-class works from 11 New Zealand artists thanks to a major transformation project at Auckland Airport.

Mayor of Auckland, Len Brown, officially opens the Outdoor Gallery today to the public.

“Our stunning natural setting, tikanga Maori and ethnically diverse population gives Auckland – and New Zealand – lifestyle and culture a truly unique flavour and I congratulate the Auckland Airport on creating a showcase of our art for Aucklanders and visitors alike,” says Mayor Len Brown.

The Auckland Airport Outdoor Gallery is part of a wider ‘place-making’ initiative to enhance the cultural and social aspects in the area and help establish The District at Auckland Airport as a cohesive business district, offering the city’s best working environment with sought-after amenities.

Auckland Airport has invested in sculptures that have diverse designs, materials and concepts from some of New Zealand’s most established artists, as well as up-and-coming talent. Featured artists are: Aaron McConchie, Aiko Groot, Jeff Thomson, Greer Twiss, Graham Bennett, Terry Stringer, Fatu Feu’u, David McCracken, Fletcher Vaughan, Gregor Kregar and Phil Price. A number of artists will also be on hand to speak to opening day visitors about their creations.

Christchurch-based artist Phil Price – whose sculpture ‘Tuwing’ will feature as part of the wider gallery project and chosen to honour the late Lloyd Morrison, a former Auckland Airport Board member – says he is honoured to be involved in the project.

“It is incredible to be a part of the cultural enhancement of Auckland Airport in such a significant way and it’s extremely positive to see Auckland Airport investing in New Zealand art for the community good. The gallery will be locally relevant and will add to the social and economic value of the region,” says Mr Price.

The majority of the initial collection of sculptures at the Auckland Airport Outdoor Gallery will be located in the Esplanade, an open space adjacent to the historic Abbeville Estate function venue and the Airport Shopping Centre on George Bolt Memorial Drive. The works will be displayed in landscaped grounds in and around a wetlands area, with visitors able to view them from walkways.

An added feature will allow visitors to scan a QR code at each sculpture for additional information about the work and artist. The Outdoor Gallery will be free of charge and open to the public seven days a week.

“Our number one objective as part of this transformation programme is to provide an excellent experience for tourists, airport visitors and the community, including 12,000 airport workers. We are giving Aucklanders the opportunity to work, play and relax and provide the people who work at The District a beautiful place to enjoy outside of work. It makes sense to establish a cultural facility as one of our first transformation projects,” says Peter Alexander, Auckland Airport’s general manager property.

“The investment we are making in our public open areas is a significant and very deliberate one. It’s vital that whatever we do is of the highest standard to attract visitors from in and out of the Auckland region. We are delighted to invest in local art that is genuinely visually stimulating, thought provoking and interesting to view,” says Mr Alexander.

Since 2008 Auckland Airport has spent $225 million on airport commercial development with a number of new projects in the pipeline. The Auckland Airport Outdoor Gallery is part of a programme to transform the area so it provides a better experience for visitors, Aucklanders, airport workers and the local community including the construction of walkways, cycleways, a mountain bike park, children’s playground and playing fields. The airport has also committed to developing a space equal to half the size of Auckland Domain for public amenities and open space that will eventually be vested with the Auckland Council.

A new welcoming landscaped entranceway to the airport on George Bolt Memorial Drive is also underway. The shopping centre will undergo a facelift and a new co-working facility designed for short term workspaces as well as the hosting of public and private events is also being investigated.

“In the next decade we want to create a truly world-class urban business location with the highest quality facilities and working environment,” concludes Mr Alexander.

For more details on Auckland Airport’s Outdoor Gallery, see www.venturehere.co.nz/play.

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